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sticky droplets

This is a discussion on sticky droplets within the Orchid Ailments / The Compost Pile forums, part of the Orchid Culture category; Hello trouble solvers! I think I found my answer to what these sticky droplets are ...

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  1. #1
    Sarah's Avatar
    Sarah is offline Senior Member
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    Default sticky droplets

    Hello trouble solvers!

    I think I found my answer to what these sticky droplets are from a previous post - honeydew? But I thought I would post a picture of it anyway for other newbies. I have them on a phal and a cattleya type. Just to double check though - they aren't harmful, right? Does anyone know why it is produced? Both plants look very healthy otherwise.

    Thanks,
    Sarah
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  2. #2
    ATester's Avatar
    ATester is offline Minster of Silly Flasking
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    Default Drops of goo

    Its completly normal, nothing to be worried about and many orchid species produce them, not just Phals. Other people may be better equipped to answer your question though if you want an in-depth explaination as to the whys and hows.

  3. #3
    Piper's Avatar
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    Default

    Yes and no, Sarah. In your case, it's safe. Honeydew is the term for the sweet sugar water that the plant uses to nourish itself. It's the equivalent of our blood. As the flower spikes grow, they develop 'joints' or bracts where larger segments lead to narrower segments. This tends to increase the fluid pressure as it travels up to the bud or flower, and a bit gets squeezed out at the joint.

    I think of it as hydraulic fluid under pressure, where none of the joints are perfectly tight.

    It can make a mess on nice furniture, but tends to clean up easily.

    The time when it's a bad sign, is when it's from pests. Scale, in particular can cause this same fluid to drip onto surfaces, including other leaves. I don't know if the scale secretes it, or it's 'bleeding' from the leaf as a result of the scale's damage to the leaf. Whenever I see it, I'm instantly on the the lookout for scale. Because it's sweet, it can also attract ants and fungi that like to feed on it. They aren't the source, but merely a secondary problem to deal with.

    So when you see it, ascertain the cause. In the case of your pictures, it's the harmless leaky joints of spikes and blooms.

    Great question, though!
    Julie

  4. #4
    Sarah's Avatar
    Sarah is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Thanks for the answers! I think I'll clean it gently with q-tip and water so as not to attract the nasties.

    Regards,
    Sarah

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